To say that Adam McKay is busy would be an understatement. The writer/producer/director has about a half dozen various projects on the go, and when we caught up with him this afternoon, he was in the midst of doing interviews for dark indie comedy “Fully Loaded,” which he executive produced. Directed by Shira Piven, and written by and starring Paula Killen and Lisa Orkin (who based it on their play from Uprights Citizens Brigade), the film chronicles one night on the town with two single Moms, whose journey for a hook up finds them comedically reflecting on their lives, past relationships, children and more.
And course, no night out is complete with a mix to go with it, and “Fully Loaded” boasts an intriguing selection of indie tunes, kicking things off with Los Campesinos! infectious “You! Me! Dancing!” And for anyone who has followed McKay over the years, they know his comedies have often featured hilarious setpieces build around musical moments. And so, we had to ask if “Anchorman 2” would follow suit. “There will be some music in ‘Anchorman 2’ though for sure, we have some songs already written,” he shared.
“We were going to do ‘Anchorman 2’ as a Broadway musical first, for like six months and then go shoot the movie. That was our initial idea,” he also added, reminding us of the film’s rocky history from being turned down at Paramount into a suddenly greenlit project. Does he mean whole sequences? “Whole song sequences, absolutely,” he said. With “Les Miserables” coming up and pushing the fact the cast sang live on set, we asked if he would take the same approach.
“The music sequences we have done — we did ‘Afternoon Delight’ [in ‘Anchorman‘], Adam Scott and his family singing ‘Sweet Child O’ Mine’ [in ‘Step Brothers‘], we did a whole song for ‘Talladega Nights‘ that got cut out, a big, big musical number — we always do it live on the set,” McKay said. “And my thing is, if the actors get freaked out, don’t sweat it, we can always re-record it later. And every time we’ve done it, we end up using the live track from the recording. We’ll probably do it the same way in this.” Though, he cautioned: “This one might have a little more movement in it, and the only problem with that is the actors get winded.”
It’s exciting stuff indeed, and he’s currently in the midst of re-writing the script with Will Ferrell, and so while exact story details are under wraps, he did share more broadly some of the themes the movie will touch upon.
“Even thought it’s going to be a big silly movie, it’s all about the rise of the new media and 24 hour news cycle, and there’s a lot of interesting points to make about that while being silly,” he said. We asked if Ron Burgundy will get a “Mr. Smith Goes To Washington“-esque moment to make a rallying cry. “It’s been discussed, there’s a little wisp of [talk]. We’d never do it straight ahead, we gotta fuck with it in some way. Because Ron Burgundy isn’t quite Jimmy Stewart in character, so if he does, he’s not going to do it well,” he explained. “But there’s a little bit of that going on. I mean what is this 24 hours news, and this wall of white noise information, has it really been good for our country? The great thing when you find a point of view like that is that it doesn’t have to be preachy or didactic, it’s also funny. It’s just funny that Americans have to contend with 2000 channels, and 60 different specific news sources, and the confusion that it creates, and the junk that we get to see is hilarious. That’s what we’re always kinda looking for, what’s the point of view that’s got life to it and plays.”
And to help make that material come to life, McKay usually has an embarrassment of riches in terms of talent. The first “Anchorman” featured a tremendous supporting cast, including folks like Tim Robbins who just showed up for the news team street fight. And this time around, McKay wants to get more great people, even if it’s just for a quick line or two. “We’re talking about for ‘Anchorman 2’ creating a murderer’s row of the best day players ever. Like having every single one line or three line role, just be someone we just love. Someone like Ian Roberts or Rob Huebel or Paula Killen — just making sure every day player is a homerun,” he said.
“Anchorman 2” starts shooting in March, but no release date has been pegged just yet. Meanwhile, “Fully Loaded” will be available on demand starting Tuesday, November 13th, on iTunes, Amazon, Vudu, Google Play, Xbox, PSN, Comcast, Time Warner Cable, AT&T U-Verse, Verizon FiOS, Cablevision, Cox, Charter, and more.